Russia successfully tested the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with President Vladimir Putin boasting the nuclear-capable projectile will make Moscow’s enemies “think twice”.
Putin was shown on television being told by the military the missile had been launched from Plesetsk in Russia’s northwest and hit targets in the Kamchatka peninsula in the far east on Wednesday. Putin told the army in televised remarks:
I congratulate you on the successful launch of the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile.
This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure the security of Russia from external threats, and make those who – in the heat of aggressive rhetoric – try to threaten our country think twice.
The new [missile] has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defence. It has no analogues in the world and won’t have for a long time to come.
The head of the Russian state aerospace agency called the launch in northern Russia “a present to NATO”.
The Sarmat is a new heavy ICBM that Russia is expected to deploy with 10 or more warheads on each missile, according to the United States Congressional Research Service.
It has been under development for years and so its test launch is not a surprise for the West, but it comes at a moment of extreme geopolitical tension over Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Russia’s National Defence magazine, told RIA news agency it was a signal to the West that Moscow was capable of meting out “crushing retribution that will put an end to the history of any country that has encroached on the security of Russia and its people”.
US Department of Defense Spokesman John Kirby said Moscow “properly notified” Washington of the test following its obligations under the 2011 New START treaty, which placed limits on the two countries’ nuclear weapons.